Thursday, November 19, 2009

'Herre Jesus Christ! Min Frelser Du Er' [UPDATED Nov. 2012]

Please note (added Nov. 2012): Kirsten Bråten Berg sings this hymn to a folk melody from her home district of Setesdal. The text, by 16th-century Danish priest and educator Hans. Chr. Sthen of Helsingør and Malmø. It is more commonly sung to the melody collected by Ludvig Lindeman cited below.

Kirsten Bråten Berg & Hallvard T. Bjørgum & Eilert Hægeland on album Jultid [Christmas] (1991). These notes on the song are on the Oslo Philharmonic website:

Music by Folketone Frå Setesdal
Lyrics by H.Chr. Sthen
There's a Danish text printed on line under title "Bøn" [prayer] on The Lied and Art Song Texts Page. First verse:
Herre Jesus Christ!
Min Frelser Du er,
paa Dig jeg haaber alene,
jeg troer paa Dig,
forlad ei mig,
saa elendelig,
mig trøster dit Ord det Rene.
Last verse is also the same as Berg's. I couldn't follow the middle verses. Danish text here is assigned to Thomas Kingo (1634-1703), but the Lutheran Hymnal Online (1941) assigns it to Hans C. Sthen (1544-1610), and prints it with a tune by Ludvig Lindeman. It's discussed on a weblog called A Fort Made of Books in the course of an overall appraisal of Lindeman by blogger Robbie F., a Missouri Synod Lutheran from St. Louis who is ever on the lookout for "dubious theology" and "pietistic pitfalls inherent in some of the most popular hymns sung to Lindeman tunes" but who still appreciates Lindeman's folk melodies. He says, "It is such a beautiful prayer of trust in Christ and His Word that one should not be surprised to find it crossing ethnic barriers to appear in such German-Lutheran books as The Lutheran Hymnal and the Wisconsin Synod's Christian Worship ... And that's not even taking into account what Lindeman's witty, prayerful tune brings to the table" [citations omitted]. Robbie F. is right. The tune is witty, prayerful. But I think I like Berg's Setesdal folk tune better. Perhaps it's her singing, though.

See also the MIDI file and words in the Lutheran Hymnal Online (scroll down to line "Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior blest ... 353 ... Lyrics" / (by Hans C. Sthen, 16th Century, trans. Harriet R. Spaeth, 1845-1925) Wikimedia Commons has an emblem (see below) for Hans Christensen Sthen (1544-1610), Danish hymn writer of Roskilde.

A short bio and list of tunes on Wikipedia's Danish-language bio of Sthen. As follows: 'Du, Herre Krist, Min Frelser est med "Egen melodi". I Psalmebog for Kirke og Hjem (1912) nr 106. Tidligere publiceret i Kingos (1699), Pontoppidans (1740), Guldbergs (1778) og Roskilde Konvents Psalmebog (1855).' Herre Jesus Christ, min Frelsere du æst i En Liden Vandrebog (1588). I Psalmebog for Kirke og Hjem (1912) nr 52 O, Gud ske Lov til evig Tid og synges til samme melodi som Apostlene sad i Jerusalem. Den blev publiceret i Roskilde Konvents ene Tillæg (1873 eller 1890). publiceret i "O Jesu Krist, till dig førvisst" 1591, i svensk oversættelse af Sigfrid Aronius Forsius, fra Helsingfors år 1614. Den er nr. 552 i den svenske salmebog fra 1986 med 5 vers.

English words as follows from 1941 Missouri Synod hymnal, which notes (in the accompanying companion) the hymn has been a favorite in Scandinavia:
"Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior Blest"
by Hans C. Sthen, 16th Century
Translated by Harriet R. Spaeth, 1845-1925

1. Lord Jesus Christ,
My Savior blest,
My Hope and my Salvation!
I trust in Thee;
Deliver me
From misery;
Thy Word's my consolation.

2. As Thou dost will,
Lead Thou me still
That I may truly serve Thee,
My God, I pray,
Teach me Thy way,
To my last day
In Thy true faith preserve me.

3. Most heartily
I trust in Thee;
Thy mercy fails me never.
Dear Lord, abide;
My Helper tried,
Thou Crucified,
From evil keep me ever.

4. Now henceforth must
I put my trust
In Thee, O dearest Savior.
Thy comfort choice,
Thy word and voice,
My heart rejoice
Despite my ill behavior.

5. When sorrows rise,
My refuge lies
In Thy compassion tender.
Within Thine arm
Can naught alarm;
Keep me from harm,
Be Thou my strong Defender.

6. I have Thy Word,
Christ Jesus, Lord;
Thou never wilt forsake me.
This will I plead
In time of need.
Oh, help me speed
When troubles overtake me!

7. Grant, Lord, I pray,
Thy grace each day
That I, Thy Law revering,
May live with Thee
And happy be
Before Thy throne appearing.

Hymn #353
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 119:170
Author: Hans C. Sthen, c. 1578
Translated by: Harriet R. Spaeth, 1898
Titled: "Herre Jesu Krist! Min Freiser du est"
Composer: Ludvig M. Lindeman, 1971
Tune: "Herre Jesu Krist"

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